Deadline

Monday, February 02, 2004

Oscar Shuffle
ABC moves Oscars for ratings and ticket sales

I remember as a young yenta, my brother and I trying to stay up on a Monday night to see who won best picture at the Oscars. That was rough.

The Questions prevailed: Why was it on a Monday anyway? That's pretty Random.
Why was it in March? It's three months after the year ended. It's almost the following year already.
Why wasn't Star Wars named best picture? Ok, I was young.

I don't have the answer to those questions, but I do know that someone else thought it was a problem and changed it up.

Night and time:
A few years ago ABC moved the telecast from Monday to Sunday. Sunday is considered the most watched night of TV. It's one of the most competitive nights. It's also considered the family night. At what better family entertainment than to watch Charlize Theron win an Oscar for playing a killer prostitute. *

Monday nights, has been traditionally one of the least competitive nights. Why waste a guarantee score on a lame duck? Why pretend people are watching Alias, when you can replace it with a hit? Sunday can also promote the rest of the week. Viewers can now see ads for ABC shows that will be cancelled soon.

They were also able to tweak with the show times. ABC always had the 8 O'clock hour for their Barbara Walters special. So the show wouldn't start until 9 pm. At that time my brother and I were already in our R2d2 pj's.

With primetime starting at 7 pm on Sundays, ABC is able to show the dated chat fest** and still not go to midnight.

Money to be made before the show:
In the past years, E! has taken a free press opportunity and turned it into a two hour special. They cover the red carpet with as much detail as CNN gave the Gulf War (parts one and two; "The Empire's Son Strikes Back.") It's become a tradition in house holds now to yell at he screen, gasping at what people are wearing. Once E! turned a profit, or at least looked like it, everyone wanted a piece of the pie.

Now a days the Oscar people produce their own damn preshow, thank you! That starts at 8 and only pushed the Oscars up a half an hour. So now we start at 8:30, not 9. Thanks for the extra 12 minutes of sleep.


One month earlier:

Now ABC has moved the pat on the back fest to February.

In terms of TV ratings, February is way more important than little old March. Feb. is not only Black History month, but sweeps. So ABC is right in wanting to have this deathstar of a show in a month that matters. Sorry Women's History Month.

The studios profit too.

A lot of times, the only chance a smaller movie can get to be seen, is if it's nominated for an award. So why wait until March, hanging on for dear life in a small movie theater? Why not move up the date and get the money rolling.

It also stops a lot of the imitators.

It seem everyone from the AARP to the Screen Actors Guild have an awards show. By the time March rolls around, people are either tired of hearing it, or they can't wait for it to end. Oscar is like the "Return of the Jedi" of award shows, after it airs the other shows just don't matter.

*Sunday was once only family fair. The thinking was that everyone was watching TV with their families, so nothing naughty. Meanwhile, Sopranos, Sex and the City, and the Practice are all ratings winners.

**With 5 celeb news shows, six late night talk shows and prime time news shows, is it still impressive that BW can get a celeb interview? She also talks to famous folks on her daytime talk show.

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